I made it safely back to the United States around a week ago and it seems like a good time to reflect on what has been an incredible experience. After spending the whole summer in Dalian, China, I followed that up with a semester in Shanghai. In Shanghai I studied at East China Normal University where I took a variety of classes involving Chinese Language, Culture and Business. I lived with a Chinese roommate in the international dorms so that I had more opportunity to speak Chinese. I also had an opportunity to intern during my semester at Arpin International Group which is a shipping and logistics firm.
Some of the key takeaways from my program was a greater understanding of Chinese language and culture. I believe that these skills could be extremely valuable in future employment. I will have no problem in understanding and relating to the cultural differences. I also have more international work experience which has helped me to secure a future internship. It has also been important for me to grow my international network which could help me find a job in the future.
On a personal level travelling and living abroad has grown my independence and confidence. It has helped me to be able to overcome difficult and unfamiliar challenges. In many ways it has caused me to grow up really quickly.
Another important takeaway is the friendships that I have made. I have met people that will be friends for a lifetime. It is these kind of relationships that make living abroad not feel so strange and distant.
Thinking back on how formative and amazing this program has been, I really think that students should seek out study abroad opportunities. A big reason why is growth in an individual’s perspective and world view. Having grown up in small town I sort of adopted the area’s views and opinions, but travelling has allowed me to hear the view points and ideas of wide range of people from different countries. This has caused me to take a deeper look at why I think the way that I do.
I hope that when I get back to Pitt I will be able to have closer friendships with some of the Chinese students. I know how tough it is to go to a school in another country and how hard it can be to make friends with people with a different language and cultural background.
It has been an amazing trip but I will be happy to see my friends back at school. This definitely won’t be my last time visiting China.
Thanks for reading all my blogs,